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NEARI President Claims Gist Threatens Careers of Her Critics

Friday, March 28, 2014

 

RIDE Commissioner Deborah A.Gist

They can’t prove it, but some Rhode Island education professionals fear reprisal from the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) if they break rank.

This week, National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI) President Larry Purtill Tweeted:

“Someone in the media needs to start checking in on sups who have been threatened with loss of certification if speak out against RIDE.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the same day, he also Tweeted:

“Teachers have been told not to speak out because if speak out against RIDE policies can have negative impact on evaluations. #Reign of Fear”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a statement issued to GoLocalProv through NEARI Communications Director Karen Comiskey Jenkins, Purtill explained his Twitter posts.

“Over the past couple of years, I have been told and I have heard – both directly and indirectly – that many superintendents are hesitant to speak up and/or raise concerns about RIDE policy because their certification could be at stake. I have heard it too often to ignore.

I have also been told by teachers – again both directly and indirectly – that they have been told to be careful speaking out because it could negatively impact their evaluation.”

Widespread anxiety

Purtill described what he called “widespread anxiety” in his circle of educators.

“I am certainly not going to provide names, and I doubt anyone will want to go on record, so I understand this is a ‘he says/she says’ situation. However, Commissioner Gist could ease this anxiety by issuing a public statement asserting that no administrator or educator who speaks out about education – whether for or against RIDE policy – would ever have their certification revoked; and that no teacher should have his/her evaluation impacted by comments made regarding education in his/her school, district or state.”

The commissioner isn’t likely to make that statement. Kimberly Bright, RIDE Chief of Staff, was curt in her response to Purtill’s allegations.

“This accusation is ridiculous.”

When asked for elaboration, or a comment from the Commissioner, Bright said “my statement stands”, and looped in David Abbott, RIDE General Counsel, who provided information on the process for revoking a certificate.

“Take a look at RIGL 16-11-4. Note that an educator's certificate is a form of a license to work. As such, it is a constitutionally protected property interest. 16-11-4 provides additional statutory due process protections and establishes a ‘for cause' standard for annulment. Annulment decisions are made only after a full investigation and an evidentiary hearing. Exercise of one's First Amendment rights would never constitute ‘cause’ for annulment,” Abbot said.

“Annulments are extremely unusual and have rarely, if ever, occurred unless the educator has engaged in criminal activity or actions that would otherwise shock the conscience. There is no reason to reassure educators that they will not be punished for engaging in lawful, constitutionally protected speech. The very suggestion has no basis in fact, law or logic.”

Apology for criticism

Purtill’s Tweets were posted one day after State Board of Education Chairwoman Eva-Marie Mancuso apologized for her criticism of Providence Superintendent Susan Lusi. Lusi recently testified at the State House that she could not continue to support the use of NECAP testing as a graduation requirement. Mancuso called the act “grandstanding” because Lusi chose to speak before members of the General Assembly instead of the board.

Maribeth K. Calabro, President of the Providence Teachers Union, said the education community is not surprised by the accusations of retaliation from RIDE.

“I have no direct knowledge that Superintendent Lusi has been threatened. The dismissive, disrespectful and condescending nature of the Commissioner, the BOE Chair and other RIDE employees is the norm rather than the exception. Teachers, administrators, superintendents and students have been forced to comply with many edicts from RIDE which are punitive in nature,” Calabro said.

"Constant" threat of retaliation

She described the threat of retaliation for speaking out against RIDE “constant.” The Commissioner refers to teacher feedback as “Crickets,” and student voices are “side shows,” according to Calabro.

“It takes real courage to stand up and speak up and to liken these students to a side show shows a lack of integrity and respect. The unwillingness of Chair Mancuso to hold Ms. Gist to the accountability guidelines that were agreed as part of her contract are a few clear indications that she uses her power as a way to demoralize and devalue anyone who has views opposite of her own.”

Calabro’s strong feelings do not equal a consensus in the local education community. Timothy P. Ryan, for example, isn’t buying it. Ryan is the Executive Director of the Rhode Island School Superintendent’s Association (RISSA). He was previously the superintendent of Portsmouth Public Schools. He said someone relayed Purtill’s Tweet to him.

“I am personally not aware of any superintendent who has been threatened with any repercussions because they stated their opinions. I, personally, and the officers of the RISSA have been very frank with this commissioner when we have not agreed. One of those areas has been teacher evaluations. The commissioner listened to that in the process if making constructive and positive changes.”

“I have personally been at meetings with the commissioner and seen nothing but collegial interactions.”

 

Related Slideshow: The Most and Least Diverse High Schools in Rhode Island

The data below reflects the 2012-13 academic year as provided by the Rhode Island Dept of Education. Values have been rounded to the nearest whole percent.

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#49 Ponaganset HS

North Scituate, RI

Total enrollment: 722

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: <1%
Black: <1%
Hispanic: <1%
Two or more races: 0.0%
White: 99%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#48 Scituate HS

Scituate, RI

Total enrollment: 491

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 0.0%
Two or more races: 0.0%
White: 97.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#47 Tiverton HS

Tiverton, RI

Total enrollment: 570

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 1.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 95%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#46 Coventry HS

Coventry, RI

Total enrollment: 1,694

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 2.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 95.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#45 Burrillville HS

Burrillville, RI

Total enrollment: 700

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 2.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 95.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#44 Exeter-West Greenwich

West Greenwich, RI

Total enrollment: 652

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 3.0%
Two or more races: 0.0%
White: 95.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#43 Chariho Regional HS

Wood River Junction, RI

Total enrollment: 1,136

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 2.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 94.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#42 North Kingstown HS

North Kingstown, RI

Total enrollment: 1,454

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 3.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 93.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#41 Mt. Hope HS

Bristol, RI

Total enrollment: 1,031

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 4.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 92.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#40 Narragansett HS

Narragansett, RI

Total enrollment: 462

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 4.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 92.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#39 Barrington HS

Barrington, RI

Total enrollment: 1,037

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 5.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 1.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 92.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#38 Smithfield Senior HS

Smithfield, RI

Total enrollment: 772

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 3.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 92.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#37 Portsmouth HS

Portsmouth, RI

Total enrollment: 974

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 3.0%
Hispanic: 2.0%
Two or more races: 0.0%
White: 92.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#36 Lincoln Senior HS

Lincoln, RI

Total enrollment: 1,067

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 6.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 91.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#35 North Smithfield HS

North Smithfield, RI

Total enrollment: 550

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 5.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 91.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#34 Warwick Vets HS

Warwick Veterans Memorial HS, Warwick RI

Total enrollment: 992

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 5.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 89.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#33 Toll Gate HS

Warwick, RI

Total enrollment: 982

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 3.0%
Hispanic: 6.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 87.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

Prev Next

#32 Pilgrim HS

Warwick, RI

Total enrollment: 1,078

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 7.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 86.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#31 South Kingstown HS

South Kingstown, RI

Total enrollment: 1,095

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 3.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 4.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 86.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#30 Cranston HS West

Cranston, RI

Total enrollment: 1,629

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 8.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 85.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#29 East Greenwich HS

East Greenwich, RI

Total enrollment: 766

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 6.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 5.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 85.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#28 Westerly HS

Westerly, RI

Total enrollment: 941

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 6.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 4.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 85.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#27 Cumberland HS

Cumberland, RI

Total enrollment: 1,403

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 8.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 84.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#26 West Warwick HS

West Warwick Senior HS, West Warwick, RI

Total enrollment: 982

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 3.0%
Hispanic: 11.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 82.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#25 Johnston Senior HS

Johnston, RI

Total enrollment: 903

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 5.0%
Hispanic: 13.0%
Two or more races: 0.0%
White: 80.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#24 Beacon Charter HS

Beacon Charter High School For The Arts, Woonsocket, RI

Total enrollment: 230

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 6.0%
Hispanic: 10.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 80.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#23 Middletown HS

Middletown, RI

Total enrollment: 737

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 7.0%
Hispanic: 9.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 78.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#22 East Providence HS

East Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 1,564

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 13.0%
Hispanic: 5.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 77.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#21 Acad. for Career Exp.

Academy for Career Exploration, Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 207

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 18.0%
Hispanic: 75.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 4.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#20 Central Falls HS

Central Falls, RI

Total enrollment: 838

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Black: 15.0%
Hispanic: 74.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 10.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#19 Cooley Health/Science

Cooley Health & Science Technology Academy, Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 717

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 5.0%
Black: 16.0%
Hispanic: 74.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 3.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#18 North Providence HS

North Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 998

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 8.0%
Hispanic: 16.0%
Two or more races: 0.0%
White: 72.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#17 Times 2 Academy

Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 652

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 32.0%
Hispanic: 55.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 6.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#16 Central HS

Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 1,101

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 8.0%
Black: 16.0%
Hispanic: 70.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 3.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#15 Mt. Pleasant HS

Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 884

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 4.0%
Black: 24.0%
Hispanic: 62.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 6.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#14 Prov. Career & Tech

Providence Career & Technical Academy, Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 568

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 5.0%
Black: 16.0%
Hispanic: 69.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 7.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

Prev Next

#13 Dr. Jorge Alvarez HS

Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School, Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 563

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 9.0%
Black: 15.0%
Hispanic: 69.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 4.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#12 E-Cubed Academy

Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 360

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 29.0%
Hispanic: 54.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 10.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#11 Hope Arts School

Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 1,035

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 6.0%
Black: 25.0%
Hispanic: 56.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 9.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#10 Woonsocket HS

Woonsocket, RI

Total enrollment: 1,736

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 6.0%
Black: 11.0%
Hispanic: 27.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 52.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#9 Shea Senior HS

Pawtucket, RI

Total enrollment: 905

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 46.0%
Hispanic: 33.0%
Two or more races: 5.0%
White: 14.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#8 Cranston HS East

Cranston, RI

Total enrollment: 1,587

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 10.0%
Black: 7.0%
Hispanic: 32.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 47.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#7 Blackstone Academy

Blackstone Academy Charter School, Pawtucket, RI

Total enrollment: 165

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 21.0%
Hispanic: 57.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 15.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#6 Jacqueline M. Walsh

Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Pawtucket, RI

Total enrollment: 167

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 14.0%
Hispanic: 28.0%
Two or more races: 6.0%
White: 50.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

Prev Next

#5 Rogers HS

Newport, RI

Total enrollment: 587

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 2.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 25.0%
Hispanic: 20.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 49.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

Prev Next

#4 The MET School

The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center, Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 868

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 2.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 15.0%
Hispanic: 42.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 35.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

Prev Next

#3 Davies Career & Tech

Davies Career & Technical High School, Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 833

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 6.0%
Black: 13.0%
Hispanic: 39.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 38.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

Prev Next

#2 William E. Tolman HS

William E. Tolman Senior High School, Pawtucket, RI

Total enrollment: 1,050

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 18.0%
Hispanic: 37.0%
Two or more races: 6.0%
White: 37.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

Prev Next

#1 Classical HS

Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 1,113

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 9.0%
Black: 16.0%
Hispanic: 46.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 26.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

 
 

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